1851 US Postage Stamps

1861 10¢ - #68

10¢ - Green or yellow green - Type II
27,000,000 - Perf. 12 -  Scott #68 - 1861


Used: $6-$18
No postmark with gum (MH): $60-$140
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $600-$1900

10¢ - Deep green or blue green - Type II
Perf. 12 -  Scott #68a - 1861

10¢ - Deep green or blue green - Type II
Perf. 12 (imperf horizontally) -  Scott #68b - 1861


Issued: May 6th, 1861, earliest known of use 17th September 1861. This according to Brookman, this stamp must be lost to history as I find no other reference in Philatelic magazine prior to the publication of the book.

Earliest known cover 21st August 1861

Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).

Printer: National Bank Note Company, using the flat plate process.

Designer: James Macdonough

Watermark: None

Quantity Issued: 27,300,000

PLATE #: 15 and 26

Color: Dark green, dark yellow green, green, blue green, deep yellow green.

OF INTEREST: This stamp (Type II) was issued BEFORE Type I (62B). The most commonly accepted reason is that stocks of the this stamp were running out so they used plate 4 (which is a Type I plate) to supplement supplies. Brookman conjectures that the type I's were sent to the west coast.

68 Earliest use
Early use of #68 - 13th January 1862


68 grill
If you have a grill on the back of your stamp (see above) then you have the 1862-1866 grilled issue, please refer to the menu for directions. The grill can sometimes be visible on the face of the stamp. Look carefully as these grills can sometimes be very faint, or hidden by a hinge.

Guide to Identifying #68

The outer oval frame line above �U.S. POSTAGE� is NOT present on the #62b (red arc). Also on the #62b, the background around the stars is filled in, and the shadows around the stars less prominent. Lastly, on the #68, there is an additional bit of scrollwork above the center of the design (orange box).

The Inspiration for the Design

Washington 10 cent Stamp

The 1857 Gilbert Stuart stamps portrait rendition was sourced from a later engraving based on the original Gilbert Stuart painting, whilst the 1861 Gilbert Stuart stamp's portrait is based on the original Gilbert Stuart painting

When considering the bust for the essay the post office considered
switching the orientation of the head from left facing to right facing.
A vignette (shown above) was produced as an example. However,
it was decided that as the other demoniations in the 1861 series
were all left facing they should keep it as it is.

gilbert stuart george washington portrait

George Washington 1743-1826
painted by Gilbert Stuart 1755-1799
Known as the The Athenaeum it was painted in 1796 by Gilbert Stuart

Perhaps the most famous portrait in the US, probably due to the fact that it's presence graces the front of the $1 bill, this portrait was in fact unfinished at the time of Gilbert's deathin 1828. It now hangs in the Boston Museum of Fine Art (Gilbert was one of Boston's more famous sons).

An excellent website on this portrait can be found here.

gilbert stuart self portrait
Gilbert Stuart Self Portrait


Varieties to look for


Scotts 68 variety - Scotts - US Postage Stamps
This stamp is replete with double transfers, however the most notable is the double transfer on the TAG of POSTAGE, as shown above.

The Essay's and Proofs

Unlisted essay on ivory

68-E1 var
Unlisted essay on india

Die essay on india

73-E6a essay
Die Essau on Proof Paper

73-E5b essay
Plate Essay on White Paper

Showing 2c,3c and 5c composite

68-P1 Proof

68-P1 Proof

68-P1 Proof


1851 US Postage Stamps